I haven't filed 5 years of taxes in Canada... where do I start?

If you haven't filed taxes in Canada for five years, it's essential to take steps to address the situation promptly to avoid potential penalties and legal consequences. Here's a general guide on where to start:

  1. Gather Necessary Documents: Collect any relevant documents for the tax years you haven't filed, including income statements (T4, T5, etc.), receipts for deductions and credits, and any other financial records.

  2. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): You can start by contacting the CRA to get an overview of your tax situation and determine your next steps. You can reach the CRA through their general inquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.

  3. File Back Taxes: You'll need to file tax returns for each of the five years you missed. You can do this by using the appropriate tax forms for each year or by using tax software or online services. If you're unsure about how to proceed, consider seeking assistance from a tax professional or accountant.

  4. Pay Any Taxes Owed: If you owe taxes for any of the years you missed filing, it's important to pay them as soon as possible to avoid accruing additional interest and penalties. You can make a payment directly to the CRA online or by mail, or you can set up a payment plan if you're unable to pay the full amount at once.

  5. Claim any Refunds: If you're entitled to a refund for any of the years you missed filing, filing your back taxes will allow you to claim those refunds. The CRA typically allows you to claim refunds for up to ten years after the tax year in question.

  6. Stay Organized: Once you've caught up on your back taxes, make sure to stay organized and keep up with your tax obligations going forward. Set up a system for keeping track of your income, expenses, and tax documents throughout the year to make filing taxes easier in the future.

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to proceed, don't hesitate to seek assistance from a tax professional or accountant. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and help you navigate the process of filing back taxes effectively.

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